“Once the water is deep enough that you must swim to stay afloat, does it really matter how deep the pool is?” – Seth Godin
After you commit to something, no matter how difficult it gets, you can’t pull back, otherwise you’ll find yourself sinking to the bottom of the pool… unless you’re handed a life vest.
Lately I have been slacking on my workouts, and have also been eating out more than usual. As a result I have gained 5 pounds in the last two weeks or so. Uh oh! Then again, my body naturally gains weight going into Spring/Summer, and then losses it going into Fall/Winter (makes me feel better if I state this). You would think it should be the opposite (lose pounds in warm weather and gain pounds in cold weather), but apparently my body doesn’t work that way.
While I’m no personal trainer, I do have a few tricks that I find helpful in order to get myself in the working out spirit, and it seems like I need to review those at the moment. So here they are, one trick for every pound I have gained in the last couple of weeks:
- Pick a time of day
For me, if I don’t do my work out in the late morning time (9-11am), then I’m less likely to do it at all. For others working out either really early in the morning (5-7am) or really late at night works better. The trick is: determine the workout time (early morning, morning, noon, afternoon, night) that you prefer or best benefits you.
- Choose between cardio and strength training
Most people, I would assume, either prefer running or weight lifting, but not both. I personally am more of a runner and focus on setting new goals/records in that; anything I do with weights, I see as a bonus. The trick is: instead of doing a half-ass job in both cardio and strength training, go all out in one and treat the other one as supplementary to your overall workout.
- Set up the environment
Honestly, I think this is half of the battle, or at least it is for me. Once I get myself dressed and out the door (to go running), I feel much more motivated and in the zone. The trick is: don’t think about the workout too much, just get yourself where you have to be (outdoors, gym, garage, wherever).
- Listen to your pump up music
Certain songs have the necessary elements to pump us up, whether it’s upbeat music or not. The trick is: find the music that best gets you energized to work out.
- Develop a routine/schedule/consistency
This is the glue that holds it all together. If you know exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, then you’re probably more likely to do it. The trick is: determine what works best for you and keep at it.
These five tricks will need to be tweaked every few months, as they don’t usually stay effective throughout the whole year. For example, as it starts to get hotter, I like to go running earlier in the morning to avoid the heat and sun. Or if it’s raining season, I’ll skip my runs and do more weight lifting instead. Also, you’ll likely update your playlist constantly as you start to get tired of certain songs and new ones come out.
Just like every penny adds up to a dollar, so does every movement and workout to your overall progress. It’s not about doing a lot, but just doing something to move you forward.
It’s January, and that means people have made and are in the process of breaking their New Year’s Resolutions. Sometimes we get caught up with reaching the end of one year and wanting to get a “fresh start” in the New Year by planning changes in/to our lives that are unreasonable and unrealistic. Unfortunately, most of us, if not, all of us, are guilty of not following through with the majority of resolutions we make. I, for example, have passed on three particular resolutions year-to-year, for the last three years (1. run a marathon, 2. get a tattoo, 3. learn to drive a stick shift).
So, why do people still bother making resolutions? Who knows. At the end of the day, there’s no harm done by making resolutions and not following through with them. If anything, it’s just annoying when someone boasters about what they plan on doing (and then fail to do so), as opposed to someone who makes a plan and simply keeps it to themselves.
The way I see it, there are a few approaches you can take to follow through with your New Year’s Resolutions:
- Refocused approach: make a short list of reasonable and realistic resolutions. In other words, don’t take on something you are very unlikely to accomplish. Start out with baby steps, and then expand out.
- Rack-up approach: make a long list, a really long list of resolutions. The basis behind this approach is that the more resolutions you can accumulate on a list, the more likely you are to accomplish something on that list.
- Rhetorical approach: make your resolutions the opposite of what you wish to accomplish. Example: if you want to start exercising, make your resolution to not exercise. Therefore, if you don’t exercise, you have accomplished your resolution (congratulations!), but if you happen to exercise, that’s a not a bad thing (congratulations!). Win-win.
That last one is a bit of a mind game, but the other two are legit approaches. Try them out!